Takashi Ito and Kimberly Vy would normally have several months to create a piece for a national gingerbread showcase at the Inn at Laurel Point. This year, they had two weeks.
The seventh annual Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase is a competition that brings together professional and home bakers and artists to create intricate, elaborate and imaginative gingerbread houses.
Vy, who started three weeks ago as the pastry chef at the Inn at Laurel Point, was paired with Ito, the executive chef at AURA, to create a piece for the showcase, though neither had worked together before. This year’s theme was family.
“We thought about it and we’re in the hospitality, tourism industry. That’s our family,” said Ito, who had expertise in ice carving, but no experience with gingerbread prior to the competition.
“It’s good for us to do this together. It’s a bit stressful too, not everything that we thought about worked.”
Roughly 40 hours later and with help from other cooks, the finished product is a roughly 22-inch high abstract blend of some of Victoria’s major tourist sites.
The Inn at the Laurel Point makes up the left side of the head, with the legislature on the right. There are also two baby orcas splashing in the water, a harbour ferry child and flowers to represent Butchart Gardens — almost entirely made from gingerbread and pieced together with royal icing.
But the gingerbread sculpture had it’s challenges.
The day before the competition kicked off, the legislature part of the head broke off.
“We both laughed and realized it was fixable, it was just a couple more hours added to our work,” Ito laughed.
Ito and Vy’s piece, along with more than 25 other gingerbread houses (all made from edible material such as ice cream cones, cinnamon sticks, pretzels and rice krispies), will be on display at the Inn at Laurel Point (680 Montreal St). from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Sunday, Jan. 3.
The event is by donation and people can vote for their favourite creation.
All proceeds go towards Habitat for Humanity Victoria.
“Every year, I’m just blown away by the imagination, creativity and the work that people do,” said Yolanda Meijer, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Victoria. “People are building something and that’s what Habitat does. The event feels really related to what we do.”
Meijer said the proceeds will go towards building homes for people in the community.
For more information visit laurelpoint.com.